WNRI radio talk host John DePetro posted a bombshell on his Web site Sunday:
[An anonymous Board of Elections officer] described the ballot situation during the 2018 election as “completely void of integrity.” According to O1, there are “no checks and balances” for who is being registered to vote and who is casting the vote.
“It is extremely upsetting, frustrating and frankly I feel terrible about the current conditions, but we simply don’t know what to do. I do my job the best I can and we have very dedicated professionals working to improve the system but it is basically out of our hands. The amount of ballot harvesting has gone to a higher level and we simply are not equipped to handle it or process it to ensure all votes are legitimate. Campaign workers are finding people, registering them to vote, presenting a mail ballot and then delivering the ballot to the BOE. The opportunity for manipulation of the vote is egregious. During the 2018 election season there were thousands of mail ballots being cast, and I mean thousands, that we knew were wrong but there is simply no mechanism in place to take proper corrective measures to stop it. On one street in the city (Providence) there were over 600 mail ballots and I honestly don’t believe one of those votes should have been counted.”
The officer estimates the number at 20,000, which could easily affect the outcome of an election, especially in local or General Assembly races. The question is: What should be done?
First of all, enough people should express their concern that happy talk from a Board of Elections member is not enough. Second, the Board of Elections and maybe the state police should begin an investigation of the mail ballots. Much of this process is new, and it would be reasonable for government officials to allocate some resources to make sure it’s working as intended.
We hear again and again that there is no evidence of voter fraud, but evidence can never be found if officials never look for it. The idea simply is not credible that elections are pristine in a state in which the House speaker’s campaign contractor is currently under indictment for money laundering to affect the outcome of a political race.
We need a transparent investigation, now, so that Rhode Islanders’ trust in their elections doesn’t erode any farther.